As the David Petraeus scandal began to unravel, one initially unanswered question was which attorney would represent the former Central Intelligence Agency director as he dealt with the fallout.
Petraeus chose Williams & Connolly partner Robert Barnett, the same man who has represented several members of Washington’s political and media elite over the last several decade, Legal Times has confirmed. The news was first reported by Politico.
Petraeus was first thrust into the national spotlight when he resigned from his post at the CIA after admitting he had an affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell.
In his 37 years with the Washington firm, Barnett, who declined comment, has handled everything from corporate litigation to crisis management to book deals. He counts among his past corporate clients McDonald’s Corporation, General Electric Company, Comcast Corporation and Toyota. In 2010, Barnett and some of his colleagues represented Sidney Harman, of Harman/Kardon fame, in the merger between Newsweek and The Daily Beast.
Barnett has also represented authors such as President Barack Obama, George W. Bush, former British prime minister Tony Blair and Barbra Streisand. The list goes on.
Barnett has also played a role in almost every presidential campaign over the past 35 years. In eight of the last 10 presidential campaigns, Barnett has helped prepare Democratic presidential and vice-presidential candidates for debates by role-playing as the Republican candidates. Barnett assisted Michael Dukakis, Bill Clinton, Joe Lieberman and John Edwards, among others.
Bingham McCutchen partner James Hamilton has dealt with his fair share of high-profile cases as well. He commended Petraeus on his choice of counsel.
“Bob is one of the most sophisticated lawyers in Washington and will represent the general well,” Hamilton said.